SOME of Newport’s most colourful characters will have their stories told on stage as part of a special night of theatre.

Written by the city’s own Josie D’Arby with additional material by Rachel Meates, The Newport Monologues came from hours of interviews with residents about the real Newport.

“I started to collect these stories and it was becoming very clear that there was a very special story to tell about life in Newport in 2012,” said Josie, who was born and raised in Newport and is also directing the piece.

“My research has only strengthened my passion for our city. I wanted to give us a night at the theatre that was just for us, where you could relate to every word and you saw characters you actually knew on stage and then throw in a few surprises.

“The play is quite simply for Newport and about Newport, because there are so many wonderful stories hidden here,” she said.

Co-produced by Feel Good Newport, an initiative set up by Josie earlier this year, the play focuses on a secret committee meeting where a group of residents have got together to discuss ways to celebrate and improve the city.

Josie told the Argus: “There’s the elderly lady with some vivid memories of the Second World War, a high-flying London lawyer back in Newport for his school reunion, an ageing Indian gentleman with a very unexpected hobby, and a lady who’s just crazy about the new Tesco.

“Let’s face it, on any given day in Newport you could run into just about anyone, so expect the unexpected.”

The show stars a mix of Newport actors and actors from elsewhere in South Wales.

The cast includes seasoned stage and screen actor Paul Jenkins, from Caerleon, Shakespearean actor Andreas Constantinou, Cardiff-born Isla Johns, Torchwood actress Natalie Paisey, and well-known Newport theatre actress Rose Shepherd, from Cross Keys.

The Newport Monologues will be staged from Wednesday, September 26, until Friday, September 28, at the Riverfront from 7.30pm.

Tickets can be bought online at theriverfront, over the phone on 01633 656757 or by visiting The Riverfront box office.

Catatonia star inspires anniversary production

TWO Newport choreographers have created a ballet to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Newport’s city status.

The pair were inspired by the music of singer-songwriter and former Catatonia frontwoman, Cerys Matthews.

Cerys, 43, is to share the stage with Ballet Cymru on Saturday, September 22, as her 2010 album Tir is choreographed as part of the anniversary celebrations.

This will be part of a double bill of Welsh dance coming to The Riverfront.

Choreographers Darius James and Amy Doughty will be using 11 of the songs from Cerys’ album to create a unique work for Ballet Cymru.

The double bill also includes Cold Rolling, a new piece from Walesbased choreographer Tanja Raman which explores Ebbw Vale’s rich industrial past and animates the process of steelmaking into vibrant choreography.